In Their Footsteps

Pitlochry, Scotland

In mid-September I spent a week up in Scotland—in the picturesque Highland village of Pitlochry. It was an appropriate place to finish off the first full editing session of Codename: Foxglove. Dominique (Foxglove), went there to visit her mentor, Rachel (Codename: Nightshade).

The Foxglove story will rest until mid-October, and from then it will undergo at least three further sessions with two-week breaks between. If it feels ready, I aim to send it out to beta readers in late November. When published, this tale will bring the Beyond The Law stories to a close, so, as might be expected, it will be done with a heavy heart, but by the same token, some series’ run their course. I’d like the final story to be a worthy conclusion to the tales which started life as a single experimental poem about a man who was compelled to end his military career.

Pitlochry saw several scenes from Codename: Nightshade which involved the Mental Riders Motor Cycle Club among others. Characters from both sides of the line came unstuck in a big way in the village. Locations like the filling station, a (renamed) bar on the main road, a large hotel, a car park, and the railway station all held a special significance for me. I travelled along the road which was used in a car and motorbike chase and felt justified in having used the route in the scenes.

While in Scotland, I visited Braemar which featured in Beyond the Law: Retribution. As the author of action scenes, death and mayhem, it creates a peculiar feeling to be on site and imagine what took place in my imaginary world.

Apart from those places I also spent a day at Aviemore and on several of the countryside routes in the area. Here, of course, I was reminded of the characters from my Light at The End trilogy, and in particular my heroine from the spinoff, Sylvia.

In visits to Glasgow, my home town, I’ve enjoyed the ‘sense of place’ when thinking back to the Beyond The Law trilogy, and in recent visits to Edinburgh I sensed the presence of Bryce, and several other characters from Czech Mate.

A knowledge of the locations used in stories complements the imagery and to a certain extent, the action. Returning to ‘real’ places after the job is done is a surreal experience and provides a healthy dose of satisfaction—I’d recommend it to fellow authors.

Thank you for indulging me with your time and comments.

***

Work in Progress

WIP on a ferry.

“It’s a Work in Progress,” a person says, but what do they mean?

For the handyman, it might be the new light fitting, which is presently hanging, disconnected from a wall.

For the gardener, it might be the new vegetable patch which is presently an oblong of overturned earth in a corner.

It is many things to different people, but none, in my opinion can utilise that phrase quite like an author. Of course, I’m biased—I’m an author, so the manipulation of words and the reader’s thought process are my craft. Let’s look at my ‘Work in Progress’.

Codename: Foxglove. This is presently in excess of 60k words and going well. It is a crime thriller which will see the conclusion of the Beyond The Law trilogy and spinoffs.

Crusader. Another crime thriller, introducing a new protagonist who starts the story as a police detective. The first chapter is written and the second is a group of passages which are not yet joined.

Constance. This is where artistic licence comes in. Unusually, this will be a sequel to a story not yet written. It is to be the follow-up to Crusader. In this case I have passages ready to create the first chapter.

Selena: Sea Nymph. My first attempt at sci-if/paranormal/fantasy, and therefore, I’m pleased that the first chapter is presently in three passages. They’re not yet set in the best sequence and that can prove challenging.

Enough? Not by a long way. I may have ceased producing erotica under my own name, but using my pen-name, Katya Cumming, there are six titles in the wings. A novel, an anthology and four novellas.

Why have so much on the go?

Two words—stress reduction.

When an idea comes to mind, I’m sure many authors continue with their latest story, (the primary Work in Progress), but at the back of their mind they might have the occasional distracting thought about another idea.

It was when this first happened to me several years ago that I sat with a coffee staring at my machine contemplating how to conquer the irritation. “Start them as they come to mind,” I told myself aloud. I never have ‘writer’s block’, and knowing that I have a wide range of projects ready to be addressed isn’t frustrating—I relax in the knowledge that I can go from one ‘world’ to the next on a day to day basis if I wish.

And now, dear reader, you know why I believe that authors can stretch that phrase better than most … after all, whatever the project, it is still a Work in Progress.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thought. Comments are welcome.

Tom